The first week is often though of as a week to adjust to new surroundings, plan for the months to come, and meet the new people embarking on this educational mission with you. While all this was true for my first week, there was far more activity than originally anticipated.
Monday: No classes were held this day, however, the school still held functions aimed towards the first weeks of class. Studio and electives were presented in Meyerson Hall for most of the day. These presentations were of primary interest to those students entering their second or third years of graduate school. Students entering their first year have a far more rigid schedule to allow for a general base of knowledge to be built prior to the students exploration in the following years.
Tuesday: First day of class! Despite the awful rain, the day was quite exciting in terms of reuniting with students met at the New Student Orientation held Friday, August 25th, 2017. On this day I managed to enjoy a break between classes in the beautiful Fisher Fine Arts Library, a lovely, quiet reading space next door to the school of design.
Wednesday: This day was important as it was the first day of studio! The class took place in the Penn Museum (which is free to students with a Penn ID). We were introduced to the class as a whole, all the teaching professors, and the work to be done in the first project. Naturally work commenced the very next day! That night was spent moving computers, materials, and a few mementos into studio in anticipation of the quick pace the class would be working at. Not necessarily of secondary importance, but perhaps not as immediately pressing as next weeks studio deadlines, was the Career Services lunch and presentation. This event was extremely informative and helpful. A three year career oriented plan was presented for each masters track, all events to come were laid out on a calendar for students to take with them, and the career advisers were present for questions. The sooner you start considering your career path and the steps you need to take the better off you are. Career Services at Penn does not delay in ensuring its students have access to all their career resources and knowledge from almost day one.
Thursday: The first step to the first assignment required another visit to the Penn Museum. Students were paired into groups and assigned an artifact from the museum to photograph in a series of circles with a photograph taken at every 15 degrees. These photos were then uploaded to a choice of two programs, although I am sure there are more, either: Autodesk Recap or Autodesk Remake. The program then analyzes the series of photographs and produces a 3D model which can be downloaded as an OBJ and imported into Rhino. This process is known as Photogramatry. For a more visual representation of this process see the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7Torjkfec4 (Note: Link was provided by MARCH Studio 500 Coordinator Andrew Saunders)
Friday: Despite the focus on studios in most design course, and most likely this blog, there are other classes to be attended. Friday’s are primarily Construction and History focused while each day of the week has another class respectively either History lecture, Structures, or Visual Studies(a sort of composition and graphics focused course).
Saturday: This day was primarily relegated to studio, like so many of the days before it.
Sunday: A 3D Makerbot Print was completed! After many trials and errors a thickened rhino model of my artifact, an ancient lamp from Israel, was completed, prepared to print, and successfully printed after 5 hours 30 minutes. This being my first time 3D printing on my own, and having really been walked through the steps quickly during Digiblast this summer, I was quite impressed with the result. If I learned anything from this process it’s that simplicity can be much more helpful than complexity, a few lines go a long way, just as a single question can lead to not only an answer but an entirely new path of thought. Naturally the presence of the TA Andrew, throughout the weekend, was much appreciated for assisting with a broken printer, teaching a quick modeling course, and answering modeling and printing questions.
Monday: Again no class as it was labor day. This was another day spent in studio working on analytical drawings of the artifact and its underlying geometries. Part of the day was taken as a “break” from the constant working on design in studio to enjoy a series of readings for history in one of the many courtyards on Penn Campus. This particular courtyard is located between the Palestra and The Weiss pavilion. It is a fairly quiet area with little pedestrian traffic through it on a “weekend”. I imagine during the week it is a busier place not suited for outdoor studying.
Though a single week, even the stereotypical easiest week, can be quite busy, make sure to take the time to enjoy the moment. The walks to class, lunch outside, reading breaks to stimulate the mind, or cooking dinner and sleeping are all important things that you can do to keep up your health/spirits and prepare you for all the fun challenges presented as your next adventure begins.